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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

10 Foods To Avoid For Building Muscle

We’ve all been told what we should eat to build muscle, but what shouldn’t we eat? It’s a much longer list, and as such, it’s hard to avoid them all. The phrase ‘everything in moderation’ comes to mind, and be sure to adhere to it!

Consider this post your diet and muscle growth checklist - you can lift all you want, but your diet will make all the difference!

What foods should I seek out?

Before we get to the bad stuff, here’s a quick overview of the good stuff.

It goes without saying that meats, dairy and staple foods should be the core focus of your diet, and this notion holds true in any scenario. Chicken, eggs, milk, yogurt, potatoes, pasta and rice should be the first items on your shopping list every single week.

In terms of diet plans, recipes and meal ideas, that’s really down to you. You could browse an online resource like The Fitness Recipes, make up your own or ask a fellow bodybuilder.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re getting these foods in your diet, you can’t go wrong. There’s no golden meal idea or diet plan.

So, here are the products you should be avoiding, if possible:

1. Breakfast cereals

Specifically, those sugary ones that are coated in chocolate and sugar. They may taste nice, but they could do more harm than good, especially if you want to pack on quality muscle and not fat.

2. Fruit juices

Ask yourself this: how much fruit juice do you consume when you eat an orange or an apple? Now put that against how much juice is in a glass. Compared to a regular piece of fruit, drinking a glass of juice is an extreme excess of sugar.

3. Margarine and butter

At the end of the day, these products are just fat. And do they really make that sandwich taste better? Do they really impact that jacket potato? It’s an extraneous inclusion to most meals, so consider cutting it out.

4. Ketchup, mayonnaise & others

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

3 Steps Towards Leading A Bodybuilder's Life

Have you had the sudden urge to start bulking up? Fallen out of love with the gym, but really want to get back under those weights? If so, then this post could be the start of your journey to leading a bodybuilder’s life. Here are three important steps you can take, immediately!

1. Eat Well

First up, the trick to any serious bulk in size is largely down to what you’re eating. You’re going to need to be plying your body with calories and protein if you’re serious about gaining size. Try to exceed your advised calorie limit each and every day to maximize on your bulk. Ensure that you’re eating your three meals a day. This should then be topped up with additional snacks, which are high in protein. 

You’re going to be working out absolutely loads if you want to lead this sort of life, so you’re going to need the energy to do it! What’s the only way to do that? Eat more! Eggs are an ideal place to start, the white of the egg is incredibly good for bodybuilding due its mass amount of protein. Carb-loading is also going to be pretty essential in terms of boosting your energy levels. Lots of pasta and rice dishes will great make dinners for any bodybuilder! Check out these six essentials foods here, for more info.

2. Train Always & Everywhere

This point should be your mantra! Bodybuilding requires a lot of training, it’s sort of in the name. So, if you’re taking this way of life seriously, then cancel all your plans, because training comes first! You should be spending about 5-6 days-a-week in the gym, ensuring one or 2 days off each week to avoid burnout and injury. Aside from that, don’t feel like your workouts have to stop there. 

Hitting it hard in your backyard is also encouraged. An exercise rig is ideal for this sort of thing. Putting in the pull ups in your garden is going to make the world of difference when it comes to really toning up those upper arms, shoulders and back. All that extra work can really show, so don’t feel like you have to stick to the gym to exercise. Remember, you can train always and everywhere!

3. Be Organized

Finally, any bodybuilder will tell you that one of the hardest things about this way of life isn’t lifting the weights, but finding the time to do it. We mentioned canceling your plans and making training your No. 1 priority, and this is exactly that! You have to ensure that you make time to train, don’t just find it, or squeeze it in. 

Got a family engagement? Smash out an hour in the garden before your have to leave! Got somewhere to go, why not jog instead of drive? All these little details will help you bulk up even quicker. Meal planning is also an essential part of bodybuilding and being organized. You don’t want to dirty bulk by having take away each night, have a freshly prepared alternative ready to heat up if you don’t have the time to cook!

Ideally, these three tips should get you well on to the way to looking and living like a bodybuilder. Let us know how you get on!

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Summer’s Must! Lose Fat without Losing Muscle

The summer is round the corner, and it’s only natural that you want to look good in the sunshine. A lot of guys out there who only usually do resistance exercise like to start a bit of cardio training as the days get longer.

In my early days, the weights room was my second home. I would lift weights day in and day out, giving no consideration to cardio whatsoever. The main reason behind this, and I’m sure a lot of you out there will relate to this, is the fear of losing size, and this is why a lot of the “meatheads” won’t do much cardio.

Let’s face it, it takes a long time to build muscle and maintain it if you do it the natural way. And the mere thought of looking slightly smaller in your favorite T-shirt sends shivers down your spine.

And to a certain extent, these fears might be justified, because doing too much cardiovascular exercise will not only reduce fat, it can also reduce muscle mass. I’ve been there!

But then I educated myself and found ways I could maintain my gains, whilst blitzing my body fat. Here’s what I did…

Fat Loss and Weight Loss Are Two Different Things

“I want to lose weight” is a term often used, but if you think about it, it’s very ambiguous. Weight loss can refer to any number of things:

- water weight
- fat
- muscle
- glycogen

So which could they mean? The answer is they probably don’t even know!

Friday, April 1, 2016

6 Essential Foods For Every Bodybuilder

Hitting the gym is just one part of your bodybuilding routine. As they always say, abs are built in the kitchen, not in the gym! To an extent, this age-old saying is true. To get the most from your muscles, you need to reduce the fat content on your body. If you want the definition to come through, you’ve got to lower the fat content surrounding your muscles. Not only that, but the right diet will actively build those muscles larger. Proteins and carbohydrates are the best nutrients here. Meanwhile, excess fats and sugars can run the good work you did in the gym. Here are just a few bodybuilding essentials.

1. Egg whites 

Egg whites are the perfect bodybuilding food. They are incredibly high in protein for their size and weight. They certainly have more protein per gram than, say, a steak. Make sure to separate the fatty yolk from the eggs, and you can create all sorts of meals. Some bodybuilders like to combine egg whites with oatmeal for the ultimate breakfast. Others will scramble it, while others will drink it straight from the bottle!

2. Broil beef 

We all know that beef is packed full of protein. Red meat is incredibly effective for feeding your muscles. However, there is also a dangerous fat content in many red meats. With that in mind, look specifically for broil beef. This type of steak is low in fat and super high in protein. You can throw it into a casserole or eat it as a steak. However you cook it, this meat is one of the best bodybuilding foods out there.

3. Supplements 

Sometimes, it’s not possible to get all the nutrients you need from a standard diet. It’s no secret that bodybuilders love their protein shakes and supplements. And they do provide a useful boost of muscle-building essentials. Take a look at 1st Phorm, and stock up on the supplements you’re missing from your diet.

4. Fish 

Fish is the perfect way to pack your diet full of protein, while avoiding the bad fats. The best option is usually salmon. Why? Because it has all the protein of a beef steak as well as providing tons of Omega 3. In other words, it has lots of ‘good’ fats. Bodybuilders tend to cut out fats completely. However, some fats are good for you, and indeed necessary. Salmon helps you get that balance of nutrients just right. 

5. Water 

Water is the closest thing we have to a magic serum. It’s a life-giving, powerful nutrient that is essential for bodybuilders. You’ll lose a huge amount of water when working out, so it’s essential that you rehydrate. Try to drink at least two litres every day. It keeps your muscles fresh and energised. It helps avoid cramping, and gives you extra energy while working out.

6. Sweet potatoes 

Last of all, we come to the carbohydrates. Carbs are essential, but you must be careful not to overdo it. Too much pasta and potato can actually slow you down and increase your fat stores. Instead, stick to the leaner sweet potato in regular - but small - doses.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

3 Rookie Mistakes You Need To Avoid

If you’ve started bodybuilding and made it past your first week, then congratulations! You’ve made a decision that will change your life for the better, not to mention stirring up a little envy in your friends! Although bodybuilding is great, there are a few serious mistakes which are common in rookies. To get the best results and avoid injury, here’s some of the biggest ones to avoid.

1. Taking Too Many Supplements
One of the most common mistakes in new bodybuilders is taking too many supplements. As much as the ads try to convince you otherwise, these won’t give you an Olympian’s body by themselves. Supplements are named so because that’s what they are...supplements. They’re made to substitute for gaps in a regular, healthy diet, and therefore help you gain more mass. Although products like Gnarly can be hugely beneficial, too much of it will only hold you back. 

Steaks, chicken breast, eggs and dairy products are great sources of protein. They should be the foundation of your diet and should be complemented by supplements. Nature’s Best fish-oil and pre-workouts are also highly beneficial for gym goers. Obviously all that whey protein is in the gym store for a reason. However, you should take it in moderation, and never see it as a legitimate substitute for a balanced diet and self-discipline.

2. Having Very High Expectations

Another common mistake is setting the bar too high. Seen as you’re hitting the gym, you probably have a pretty clear image of what you want to look like. When you sweat and sweat for a month and don’t get any visible results, it can be a little disheartening. It would be lovely if we could look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lazar Angelov in a short space of time. Unfortunately, this just isn’t going to happen! 

Don’t let this get you down though. With enough determination and time, you can get your body looking however you want it to. However, be realistic about your expectations. Don’t get discouraged if your progress isn’t measuring up to someone else’s either. Everyone’s body is different, and yours will develop at its own pace.

3. Using Too Heavy Weights

Finally, avoid using heavier weights too quickly. A single 300 lbs. deadlift sounds really impressive when you tell your friends about it. However, it’s not going to do as much for you as 8 reps of 100. If you come to the gym with a highly competitive attitude, you’ll only be slowing yourself down. You’ll also build up a reputation for being the gym douche. If you only came to the gym for the bragging rights, then take away. 

However, if you want to avoid injuries, chronic soreness, and develop your body as efficiently as possible, then take it slow. So how do you know what’s too much? This can be a tricky one, but if you have a personal trainer they’ll certainly be able to help. They’ll also improve your form, which reduces your chances of injury.

Avoid these three mistakes, and there’ll be nothing holding you back. As a final piece of advice, take less advice! A lot of bodybuilders love dishing out general pointers. Remember though, what works for them won’t necessarily work for you.